Do you know how much our
everyday use of plastic is harming our environment and us?
Plastic has become an everyday part of our lives, but when plastic reaches our
waters, whether it’s in form of plastic bags, drifting fish nets or intentional
dumping of other plastic material into the water, it’s a deadly threat to the
animals that depend on the oceans for food.
Like, to a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. And
drifting nets entangle birds, fish and mammals, making it difficult, if not
impossible to move or eat.
This marine plastic, which the researchers deal with amounts to 268,940 tons, is
largely made up of clothing, food and drink packaging, plastic bags and
abandoned fishing gear. Large pieces of plastic can strangle animals such as
seals, while smaller pieces are ingested by fish and then fed all the way up the
Not only that, all these different plastics that spread throughout the ocean
breaks. Just as Styrofoam breaks into smaller parts, polystyrene components in
it sink lower in the ocean, so that the pollutant spreads throughout the sea
In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic effect the ocean, but acting like
sponges, they soak up the toxins. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in
the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated
The worst part is, these plastics don't biodegrade, so they break up into tiny
pieces that are later consumed by fish and sea mammals
Micro plastics is currently the biggest concern because it could come from the
exfoliation beads in our face scrubs to fibers from our laundry, these tiny
plastic particles are now known to be ingested by animals throughout the marine
food chain, carrying with them a number of pollutants.
But there are some things even you can do to reduce this massive plastic
First of all, try to use reusable bags instead of polyethene bags. About 1
million plastic bags are used every minute, and a single plastic bag can take
1,000 years to degrade. If you're already bringing reusable bags to the grocery
store, you're on the right track, but if you're still using plastic bags, then
it's time to make a change. And avoid those bags made from nylon or polyester
because they are also made from plastic. Opt for cotton ones instead.
And then you can try to keep
yourself away from all the everyday plastic products. Ninety percent of the
plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then left like grocery bags,
plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, and coffee-cup lids. Take note of how
often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions.
And last but not the least, boycott those micro beads. These little plastic
scrubbers found in so many beauty products—facial scrubs, toothpaste, body
washes—might look harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through
water-treatment plants. Unfortunately, they also look just like food to some
marine animals. Opt for products with natural exfoliants, like oatmeal or salt,
And I hope now you can, too, try to make a little change for the better.
SADIA KHALID, Karachi.